Woke up Monday still without electricity. Both Tom and I took a vacation day. We placed a call first thing to a contractor for our roof damage and started cleaning up some of the mess in our yard. We were still working in the yard (as were many around us) Monday afternoon when our next door neighbor returned home from work. He told us the power outage was enormous, and had affected 90% of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. There were trees and power lines down everywhere. The energy company had restored power at that time to 200,000 people, but there were still a vast number of people without. Apparently our linemen had headed to Texas to assist with Hurricane Ike, leaving very few to service our area.
Our neighbor also told us all the local groceries were without power, that Kroger was rationing ice to two bags per person and the police were stationed in those areas. There were long lines at the gas stations, but most weren’t working because the pumps were electronic. I was stunned. In my recollection, nothing like this has ever happened here. Our energy company had called in crews from North and South Carolina to help in getting power restored. Our neighbor said news reports were estimating it would be the end of the week before all power in our area was fully restored. We began to consider how blessed we were. The weather after the windstorm was unseasonably cool and breezy, unlike the heat and humidity we had just a few days ago. This was no doubt a huge help.
Despite feeling blessed, I must admit I did get a bit heartsick about the food I had to throw away from the fridge and freezer Monday night. (I had just done our grocery shopping on Saturday.) The outage had extended beyond the point where the food was safe, and trash was to be picked up the next morning. I was washing dishes by candlelight just before 9:00 pm, when our power was restored. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated it more. I kept walking through my house just thanking the Lord. Then we turned on the news. Talk about eye-opening. It confirmed everything our neighbor had told us, and then some. Seeing there were still over 500,000 people without power and images of severe damage (trees into homes, telephone poles down, fires, water main breaks, etc.), my loss of groceries and roof shingles was nothing in comparison. We were able to go to bed Monday night with our electricity restored. Many people on our bus and at our workplace yesterday were still without. Even in downtown Cincinnati, I saw two buildings with shattered windows and severely damaged revolving doors.
I feel both blessed and very sympathetic to those who don’t yet have electricity. (As of now, approximately 350,000.) Many of the local fitness centers and the YMCA branches have opened their shower facilities to the general public, for those who don't have friends or relatives with power. Local hotels that are operational are offering rooms at discounted rates, as well. One of our local ministries has been passing out free bags of ice by the thousands and nearby churches are providing dinners for those in need.
I don’t begin to compare this to the devastation in Texas. Doesn’t even come close. The local weather forecasters say this was a highly irregular phenomenon for our area that a took everyone by surprise. Even so, I discovered just how ill-prepared I was for something like this. I had allowed my cell phone battery to get very low so when the power went out, I hardly had any charge with which to call or hear from anyone. I had only one working flashlight in my house, no batteries and very little in the way of non-refrigerated, ready-to-eat food. I will definitely be a little better prepared should this type of thing ever happen again. Hope you will take this as a loving reminder to make sure you, too are prepared in the event of an unexpected emergency or power outage.
Some additional images of damage to our area…
(Photo courtesy of wcpo.com - dmrsrn)
Please continue to pray with me for those everywhere who sustained damage, but especially those in Texas who received the brunt of Hurricane Ike’s wrath. Please also pray for the service men working around the clock to repair lines and restore power.